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Best (Small) Glock Pistols: Is Smaller Better?

Glock is consistently one of the most popular pistol manufacturers for concealed carry, competition, and recreation. Glock is known for producing reliable, accurate pistols that are very easy to care for. There is, after all, a reason that Glocks are so popularly used by militaries and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

But today, we’re going to focus on a specific subset of Glock perfection, their class of sub-compacts. These little guns are great options for concealed carry, especially for shooters with small builds, for whom even compact guns can be tricky to hide. 

Here are a few of our favorites:



The Glock 43X is Glock’s most recent subcompact release. It’s a new take on the Glock 43, which itself is a slimline, single-stack version of Glock’s older sub-compact 9mm pistol, the Glock 26 (which we’ll also be talking about in a few moments).

The Glock 43X takes the frame of the Glock 43 and gives it a longer (and just a touch thicker) grip that’s similar to the grip found on the Glock 48. 

This length does a few things for the Glock 43X. For one, it makes the G43X more comfortable to hold than the original Glock 43 and gives shooters better control over the pistol. It also increases the pistol’s capacity from 6 rounds to 10. 

If you want even more rounds, Shield Arms makes a 15-round capacity mag, the SR15, that doesn’t add any extra bulk compared to the factory magazine. 

Though, if you don’t mind a longer grip, Shield also makes a G43X compatible mag extension that lets you get an extra five rounds out of the SR 15, bringing total capacity up to 20 rounds.

Even with the larger grip, the G43X is still very easy to conceal and comfortable to carry. All in all, the gun measures 6.5 inches in overall length, 1.1 inches in overall width, and 5.04 inches in height. It weighs 18.7 ounces with an empty mag.

It comes in both the standard version and a MOS version, which features a mounting rail under the barrel and slide cuts for micro-optics. 

If you want to upgrade from the somewhat questionable factory Glock sights, the G43X MOS is a great option that allows you to do just that. 

On the other hand, the bulkier sights do take away from the svelt G43X frame, so that’s also something to keep in mind.


10mm has been becoming increasingly popular in the last few years, gaining a pretty substantial cult following, and Glock has kept up with that demand. The Glock 29 is Glock’s subcompact 10mm, one of several 10mms made by Glock

As you might imagine, the Glock 29 is larger than the Glock 43X to accommodate for the larger rounds, though still plenty small enough to be concealable. It measures just a hair under 7 inches long and 4.53 inches tall, with a width of 1.38 inches. 

Glock 29
Glock 29

That allows you to keep the same 10-round capacity as the G43X in a single stack frame (though there are still extended magazines available too). It’s a fair bit heavier than the G43X, weighing in at 26.81 ounces. 

That extra weight is good, though, since it helps manage 10mm’s heavier recoil relative to 9mm. You’ll still feel a lot more recoil than you do with a full-sized weapon, but if you’re tied to the idea of a 10mm subcompact, the G29 is hard to top. 

If you have a larger hand, be sure to get the Gen 4 version rather than the SF. The Gen 4 allows you to add backstraps to adjust the grip size, making it better suited for big hands. 

It’s particularly good for using as a backup for a full-sized 10mm. It’s also good for carrying when hiking or backpacking since 10mm is powerful enough to stop just about anything you could encounter in North America, but the petite frame doesn’t add a lot of bulk or weight to your pack or waistband. I wouldn’t, however, use it as my primary hunting weapon for large game. 


If you want the most sub-compact of the sub-compacts, this pistol is the way to go. The .380 ACP G42 is the smallest pistol that Glock makes and is also the only Glock chambered for .380 Auto. Just like 10mm forces Glock to scale up, .380 allows Glock to scale down.

It measures just 5.94 inches long, 4.13 inches tall, and 0.98 inches wide, and weighs a mere 13.76 ounces with an empty magazine. The gentle recoil of .380 makes it easy to handle the gun despite its petite frame. 

Unfortunately, the gun has a limited capacity, just 6 rounds, due to its single-stack design. For that reason, I really don’t recommend the G42 as an EDC weapon for most people. That said, there are a few situations that I think the G42 is great for. 

The world's largest and smallest Glock pistols: G40 and G42

First, it’s a great backup gun if you only have very limited space available for placing a second weapon. With its small size, the G42 can be concealed almost anywhere on almost any body with minimal risk of printing. 

What I think it’s especially well suited for, however, is physically weak shooters. Whether you’re new to gun ownership, have a disability of some kind, or are weak for some other reason, .380 is a great round because it’s powerful enough to have decent stopping power compared to weaker rounds like .22 LR, but is still more manageable than other common self-defense rounds like 9mm and especially .45 ACP. 

Of course, a lot of that could be said about a lot of .380 pocket pistols, but I think the Glock 42 is one of the best in that category. It features decent sights and a pretty good trigger, as well as a nice, large mag release. Plus it has that wonderful Glock aftermarket allowing you to make upgrades as you like. And like any Glock, it’s very reliable and easy to maintain. 


Compared to other small Glocks, the Glock 36 is something of an unsung hero. It’s rarely mentioned, but it’s a really interesting gun. 

This is another single stack, also with a 6-round capacity, but this time in .45 ACP. Introduced in 2000, the G36 was actually Glock’s very first single-stack pistol, even predating the G42. 

The pistol’s single-stack design allowed it to be much slimmer than Glock’s existing .45 subcompact, the G30. The G36 measures 1.18 inches wide in comparison to the G30’s 1.38 inches and weighs just 22.4 ounces compared to the G30’s 26.28 ounces.

At 4.72 inches tall, the G36 is also just a touch shorter than the G30, though both measure 6.97 inches long. 

Generally, I like to see a larger capacity from a CCW, but realistically, the G36’s capacity is only a round or two less than most full-sized 1911s but in a much smaller, much more concealable package. 

It is worth noting that the G36 does have quite a bit of snap to it since it’s so small and shoots powerful .45 ACP. You want to take the time to train with any gun you plan to carry, but that’s especially true if you’re not used to shooting powerful rounds out of teeny tiny guns, like this one.


I already said that a rundown of the Glock 26 was coming, so let’s talk about this little pistol before we wrap things up. The G26 was Glock’s first foray into the subcompact market and was dubbed the “Baby Glock” when it first came out. It’s basically a shrunken-down version of the ever-popular G19. 

It’s just 6.5 inches long, 1.26 inches wide, and 4.17 inches tall, making it the exact same length as the G43 and a little bit shorter in height, but a decent bit wider. Still, it’s pretty solidly in the middle of the pack for a subcompact Glock in terms of size. 

It comes with a 10-round magazine, so it matches the G43X and surpasses the G43 there, but it can be used with G19 mags, so you have virtually unlimited options for extended magazines. 

I’m a big 9mm fan so the G26 is probably my absolute favorite subcompact from Glock. However, I have very small hands, even for an adult woman, so many of you may prefer the extra grip length you get with the G43X. 

However, there are also extended magazine extensions that add both length and capacity that may give you the grip length you’re looking for while also providing a couple of extra rounds over the G43X. One that I like is the Pachmayr Grip Extender, which provides a pinky rest and room for two more rounds, raising the G26’s capacity to 12 rounds, higher than any other pistol on this list.

It’s all a matter of individual preference, so I definitely recommend giving both a try if you can before committing to one or the other. 


That’s a wrap on the best small Glocks.

Glock makes great pistols, so all of these are great choices for shooters looking for small guns. Caliber is the biggest difference between them, but as you’ve seen, there are also a few other differences as well, like single vs double stack magazines and optic readiness. 

All you have to do is pick the right one for you.

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